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What is the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) is a program that pays for medical services for a short period of time after you arrive in Canada. The program is for some refugees and refugee claimants.

You may be eligible if you cannot afford to pay for medical services and you do not have provincial health insurance (such as OHIP in Ontario), or private health insurance.

If you are a refugee resettled from overseas, such as a government-assisted refugee or privately-sponsored refugee, you might be eligible for some benefits under the IFH program until you can get provincial health insurance (such as OHIP, in Ontario). In addition, some refugee claimants are eligible for the program.

After you get provincial health insurance, you may still eligible for partial benefits under the IFH program for up to 12 months after you arrived in Canada.

The IFH Program is not designed to replace provincial health insurance and does not provide the same extent of coverage as a provincial health insurance.

The IFH Program may cover some of these medical expenses:

  • Essential and emergency health services to treat and prevent serious medical conditions. This includes immunizations and other vital preventative medical care.
  • Prenatal and obstetrical care.
  • Essential prescription medications and vaccines in certain situations.
  • The immigration medical exam, if you cannot pay for it.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) decides if you are eligible for the IFH Program.

Important Note: As of June 30, 2012, the IFH program ended coverage of supplemental health-care benefits. However, most refugees and refugee claimants still receive a minimum of essential and urgent services. Failed refugee claimants and claimants from Designated Countries of Origin in Ontario are exceptions however, and are limited to receiving services only if they diagnose or treat a condition of public safety concern. Starting January 1, 2014, refugee claimants who are not eligible for the IFH program may be eligible for the Ontario Temporary Health Program.

For More Information

Last Updated: January 7, 2014
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